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The men of Windham County during the Civil War were viewed as Modernist and Patriotic. Abraham Lincoln described the Union soldiers as; “patriotism, political bias, ambition, personal courage, love of adventure (and) want of employment.” Warshauer described Windham’s support for Lincoln administration and the war effort as being unique; they were determined to send Union Soldiers as volunteers rather than draftees. The Hartford Courant focused on advertising for Union Soldiers along with writings of how the regiments were dealing with the Civil War.
The Hartford Courant helped with keeping those at home updated on the war with articles on different battles, diary type entries and advertisement. Connecticut created poster to help get more volunteers to join the Civil War. On May 3, President Lincoln had called for another 42,000 volunteers.
Connecticut had more recruitments than what the federal government had initially requested. Connecticut’s recruits faced many issues, such as little food and what was provided was considered poor quality. They had inferior clothes that lead to complaints.
The Connecticut General Assembly created special committees to help to investigate these problems. From the conditions the soldiers faced. Wilbur Fisk who wrote a letter to a newspaper in Vermont said “A few days’ hard marching with short allowances of hard tack and meat, is very apt to convert such soldiers into violent copperheads.” Indicates the conditions the soldiers faced lead towards their violent tendencies. In a recruitment poster for Connecticut, they made it clear that they wanted people to put aside their political party and to come fight for them.
“Know no man as Democrat or Republican! Recognize no distinction save that between Patriots and Traitors!” They wanted the people to put aside their differences, no matter who they were to come fight. Those by stating “he who is not for us is against us!”
Basically if one didn’t sign up and join the Union, they were viewed as against them. The requirement poster came off as being strongly patriotic, by stating “Long Live The Constitution! God Save the United States & America: Nail This Up!” By stating this, I believe they were trying say that by joining the fight for the war, its more than a political party or side, but one is indeed fighting for their country. Of these 2,288 Windham Men that were sent into Civil War Service, about 592 of these men fought under General R. Huston at Second Winchester, Virginia in June 1863.’ They were poorly prepared to fight and not ready for battle. Prior to the battle in Winchester, they were helping to build a railroad. Out of the 592 Windham County Soldiers, 23 of them were killed at this battle, more than 500 were taken as prisoners and 41 of them were seriously injured.
Windham County had a lower desertion rate compared to other Connecticut Counties. “The average desertion rate for Windham soldiers was 9 percent, far lower than the 14 percent for Connecticut as a whole.” The reason why they stayed committed and they didn’t walk away, perhaps had to due with the fact, they viewed the war differently than others. They not only wanted to preserve the Union, but they also wanted to end slavery. Windham County had a very modernism view on society starting off early on in their settlement; they were republican before many other areas in the state. The motivation for the soldier to join varies per person. Wilbur discusses, that there are very few men that desire peace on any terms of entire submission. There are some in every regiment that don’t care if the south or north wins. Wilbur emphasized on the loyal soldier who will follow commands no matter what or how hazardous the situation was. That it was not always easy to come by one of these soldiers. In the Hartford Courant there were articles on Eighteenth Regiment and how they dealt with the Civil War, the soldiers would discuss their endeavors of the war. In one of the articles, the union soldier said “nothing stranger or unusual has happened about here during the past week, of a war-like character.”
They kept journal like entries in the newspaper because it helped keep those at home updated on the war. Other entries were advertisements, such as the Special Notices, which was advertising Hollway’s Pill & Ointment. “Do your duty to yourselves, protect your health, use Holloway’s Pill & Ointment.” This notice was created for the soldiers, advising them on their health and attempting them to back a purchase. This could be related to United States Sanitary Commission being developed during the Civil War, which helped with supporting the sick and wounded. The Hartford Courant reported from Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia on how the war was advancing in these areas. In The War, column it discussed how a wagon train was captured by rebels in Tennessee. “It is said Longstreet will soon attack Rosecrans.” In Arkansas, they achieved a victory over one of the battles that occurred there. In the column, it said, “the expedition under Porter and McClernand relieved a victory over the enemy of Arkansas Post.”
The men of Windham County brought a unique interest to the Civil War. They came into the war hoping to preserve the union and end slavery. Overall Connecticut had a high rate of volunteers, especially in Windham County. Through the Hartford Courant, they kept the home front updated on different war ridden areas, diary journal entries of the soldiers, and advertisements of things of interest for the soldier, among other war related things. They used recruitment poster to help get more volunteers, who were typically patriotic and trying to captive the interest of anyone to join the war efforts. They wanted people to put their differences aside to fight in the Civil War.
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